I’ve been having nightmares every night for the past two weeks. While I’m in a dead sleep I’ll sit up in bed, put my feet on the floor, and sit there while the nightmare plays out.
In the nightmare I’m always playing outside with my son, and Evangeline runs by, sometimes she’s running into traffic, sometimes towards the edge of a cliff or climbing over the railing of my balcony. And I lunge for her, but I always miss. And I wake up because I’m lunging across my bed, or jumping forward head first into my dresser, or I just feel like I’m catching myself just before falling off a high roof.
Then I wake up, startled and groggy, and apologize to my girlfriend if I’ve woken her up because I fell on her. Sometimes I’m convinced I had been screaming, but my girlfriend never hears anything. Then I’ll lay down and fall back to sleep.
My girlfriend will, sometimes several times a night, wake up to find me sitting on the edge of the bed, asleep. And she’ll try to pull me back down. Sometimes I lay down, sometimes I can’t. It depends where I am in the nightmare. Because sometimes I’m playing with our son, and everything is fine, and sometimes I’m trying to save Evangeline and, for some fucking reason, I have to be sitting still on the edge of the bed to do it.
That’s it. I’m still taking the pills, I’m still taking the slow-release insulin at night, but I rarely take the quick acting stuff with my meals. Mostly because I’m not eating meals, I’ve reverted back to waiting until I’m running on empty before stopping for a snack.
I’ve kept my girlfriend, her oldest son and our son here with me since Evangeline died. I think, mostly, so we could all grieve together. Or be each others security blanket. But, with the four of us in my apartment, it also allows me the excuse not to grieve. If that makes sense.
Basically, I need to write to get things straight in my brain. I can’t write if there are people around. The longer people are around, the less I can write, the less I grieve, the more often I have nightmares and wake up because I just dove face first into my dresser trying to save a ghost.
Tonight (Saturday) my girlfriend’s oldest son was acting out (a little) so my girlfriend took him back to her place. So tonight it’s just me and Victor, and he’s sleeping soundly.
But still, if I’m going to get these nightmares dealt with, I think I’m going to need a few days and nights to myself.
Tragically Hip, “Nautical Disaster”, Day For Night (1994)
I had this dream where I relished the fray
And the screaming filled my head all day
It was as though I’d been spit here
Settled in, into the pocket
Of a lighthouse on some rocky socket
Off the coast of France, dear
One afternoon four thousand men died in the water here
And five hundred more were thrashing madly
As parasites might in your blood
Now I was in a lifeboat designed for ten and ten only
Anything that systematic would get you hated
It’s not a deal nor a test nor a love of something fated
The selection was quick, the crew was picked in order
And those left in the water
Got kicked off our pant leg
And we headed for home
Then the dream ends when the phone rings
“You doing all right?”
He said, “It’s out there most days and nights
But only a fool would complain”
Anyway, Susan, if you like
Our conversation is as faint a sound in my memory
As those fingernails scratching on my hull